Women activists in Shillong on Monday submitted a memorandum to Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad with a plea to not grant consent to the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018, alleging that it seeks to ‘ostracize’ Khasi women who marry non-Khasi men.
The letter submitted to the Governor was initially signed by Theilin Phanbuh, chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women, and endorsed by several women groups and individuals.
The letter stated that the proposed amendment clearly sought to ‘excommunicate and ostracize’ Khasi women who marry a non-Khasi and her children, in contravention to customary practices, human rights law and the Constitution.
The KHAD (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) (Second amendment) Bill, 2018, was passed by the KHADC during its summer session held on July 25.
The women groups said the proposed amendment was never put in the public domain to solicit views and opinions from the Khasi society, which as per the definition in the principal act includes ‘Khasi, Jaintia, Pnar, Synteng, War, Bhoi or Lyngngam, or who is recognized or deemed as such under prevailing Khasi custom or this act’ and who will be directly affected by this bill. Further, due legislative processes were not followed.
The prominent signatories included noted journalist Patricia Mukhim, Agnes Kharshiing, a women’s rights activist and president of the Civil Society Women’s Organization and Angela Rangad, chief of Thma U Rangli-juki.